Human head, skin removedMy wife is fond of saying that when particularly bad things happen, they leave you walking around as if you had no skin on.

I like that metaphor. To skinless people, even the most helpful touch is painful. Skinless people react to everything as if it were a threat. Many end up in a perpetually wounded state, which they grow to embrace, and any attempt to talk rationally with them fails miserably.

Long ago, being thick-skinned was a virtue. But somehow, in our enlightened day and age, the skinless person rules. They are the true untouchables. Because they blanch at every word and cry out when even a hint of salt comes near them (for their entire self is a great wound), they are the equivalent of the victimized fortress, impregnable by its very sensitivity to everything.

I look around and it just boggles my mind how skinless we are in the United States. It has become impossible to carry on a conversation with anyone who differs from you on a subject or  who needs vital correction. The skinless person howls in pain the second you open your mouth to speak.

When a skinless person makes like a banshee, all important conversation grinds to a halt. We have been culturally conditioned stop everything we are doing, because the skinless person has a right to remain skinless, to dwell in a constant state of vigilance against the salty words of the wise.

The conservative-liberal conversation is a skinless one that somehow finds a way to lose even more skin as years go by. And sadly, skinlessness exists in record amounts in the Christian Church in America.

“Touch not the Lord’s anointed” is bandied about by the most skinless in our churches. Plenty of leaders hide behind those words. They stand afar off, immune to correction, and their flocks suffer for it.

We have a tendency to also treat as skinless those “weaker parts” about which Paul writes (1 Corinthians 12:22), though some skinless people are legitimately so. Yet in too many cases, skinless people hide behind their skinlessness and never make any attempt to rectify their condition. They set about them a cabal of supporters who will testify to their skinless state and why it must be respected. Such skinless people and their enablers become the logjam in the Holy Spirit’s flowing river.

How do we in the Church in this country accomplish anything with so many skinless people around? They’re everywhere. And as long as they’re occupying space, the French saying applies: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

11 thoughts on “Skinless

  1. Amen! I’ve been busy the last year or so trying to grow some skin myself. As Christians one of our defining characteristics should be that we not be easily offended. (1 Cor. 13: 4-7). Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    • Laurie,

      Yes, we have become so sensitive. Our responses in the culture wars show this. We are growing increasingly afraid of everything that happens in the world today. “Fearful Christians” should be a contradiction in terms, but instead, we walk around like people with no skin, sensitive to everything that happens because we are afraid of losing our institutions and our personal fortunes.

  2. Jim D

    Skinless people and their desire to keep people from “hurting” them are taking away the rights of others to speak freely. Especially people groups protected under Hate Crime Laws. Hate Crime laws really hammer people who want to speak out. See this video as an example:

    I do not like to say anything about homeosexuals (even though I believe that it is a sin) because I am immediately labeled as a homophobe by those heterophobes that are out there. I still try to love the sinner while not accepting their sin. I have friends on Facebook who are open homosexuals. If they came back to town and wanted to meet with me, I would meet with them. Yet, I am concerned that they would reject me as soon as I spoke out about their sexual choice. It has nothing to do with just their sexuality; if they told me they were swingers, I would still speak out against their lifestyle choice. Yet, most homosexuals are skinless. Too legislate protection for those that are skinless is ridiculous.

    • Jim,

      If we have learned anything, it’s that the power of the Church of Jesus Christ manifests most brightly under persecution. In truth, our chief right as Christians is to be hated by the world because of our Lord. Yet how little I hear people in this country arguing in favor of that right!

  3. Brian

    The skinless battle rages on in California. The state supreme court upheld prop 8 (changes state constitution to define marriage between a man and woman). This is the second such amendment in California since 2000 (Prop 22 was voted up but found unconstitutional by the same court). Did I mention this is California?

    But my question is who is being the skinless ones in this battle?

    I personally know a lot of gay people here. I work closely with several. And some are friends. I don’t make any issue out of their lifestyle. One, I would be torn to pieces, but two, it is such a charged (read skinless) issue that I honestly feel that the gospel message is entirely lost when discussing these issues.

    What are the two greatest commandments? Love the Lord, love your neighbor. I’m sure some on here will say that telling them they are going to hell for their lifestyle is loving them. I disagree. I think its faux christianity. I can’t name a person who got saved because a co-worker kept telling them this. But I do know a lot of people that got saved because God was there to help them when they needed Him.

    No, I think the sin committees of christianity are some poor attempt at self righteousness. It comes off as condescending. It makes the speaker somehow feel morally justified for not getting their hands dirty.

    Its much harder to put that issue of sin aside and love that person. Hang out with them. Get to know them. Find their struggles and pains in life. Pray for them without judgement. To ACTUALLY love them.

    Letting someone know what you are against does nothing compared to telling them God is for them.

    Lead them to God and let Him deal with their homosexuality. Despite what many Christians think, homosexuality is a very deep soul issue. Its not a light switch to turn on and off. Only God can handle it. And I’m willing to bet he will handle it 1000 times better than you and me.

  4. Diane R

    There is a related issue to your topic—one that I am becoming concerned about, and that is “The Tolerance Police.” It’s bad enough that it is rampant in our secular society, but now we have the “Christian Tolerance Police.” If you don’t agree with their assessment of evangelicalism, you then “are intolerant.” And that stops the dialogue/discussion right in their tracks. The interesting thing here is that these types of people constantly call for the need of dialogue. Hmmmmm….I don’t think they can have it both ways….LOL.

    • Diane,

      People today, in general and on all sides, are way too sensitive about their beliefs. Either they hold them so lightly that they cannot defend them (so they attack anyone who questions them) or they hold them so strongly that they develop a persecution complex.

      If we cannot graciously hold to a position and withstand both genuine and attacking inquiry, then we are “doing it wrong.”

  5. Cristy

    I wondered after reading this about the necessity of some “skinlessness?” What about those called to be sensitive to the needs of others, for the purpose of prayer and compassion?

    I know God made me the way I am, far too sensitive, so I can pray for others. I feel things deeply. As I’ve walked this out over the years, I’ve had to learn to not have a sense of entitlement with regard to ‘protection’ (it’s harder than it sounds.) But God put me with my husband for that covering, to an extent. They both keep me in line 😉

    A comment too. Those I know that don’t know Christ know what I believe. They are often familiar with the Bible’s stand on homosexuality and sin in general when they meet me. We don’t belabor the point, really. But they know that I love them, and that my God loves them, pretty early on. And that I purpose to walk out my life as Christ did, not like the stereotypes they are familiar with. This is what I’ve found to be the best witness to nonbelievers, regardless of their lifestyle.

    • Cristy,

      Skinlessness is not supposed to be a permanent state. People who suffer tragedies are often skinless, but the Lord doesn’t intend them to stay that way. Empathy and skinlessness aren’t the same thing.

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